I write novels that express and examine ideas that challenge commonly- held concepts of human relationships. Society is changing and a lot of men are no longer clear what being a man means, what their role is expected to be and where they stand in family and social relationships. I don't have the answers but I raise the questions to encourage the discussion.
Tuesday, 21 May 2013
My current work
A New Era For Manny Youngman
The final draft has gone off to Fremantle Press and I am once again an author in waiting.
I put more work into revising the final draft of this novel than any of the others I have written (which perhaps explains why they were not accepted by publishers). In this I was greatly helped by fellow-writer Paula Boer, who did the most amazing critique of the ms and pointed out so many ways in which the writing (as opposed to the plot) could be improved.
In A New Era For Manny Youngman I tell the story of a man who believes the feminist movement gave women a new role in society but did not balance that with a new role for men. He is President of the New Era Men’s Support Alliance, which seeks to work out what this role should be, or at least help men who are confused by what is expected of them.
Giving a talk on this subject, he is confronted by ex-girlfriend Katie Frank, who at first attacks his views and then backs down and hurries away.
A few days later he arrives at his apartment to find Katie there with Jenny, a 15 year old girl she tells him is his daughter. Katie is going to prison for throwing a bomb into a men’s club and asks if he can take care of Jenny.
Manny sets out to establish a relationship with Jenny based on his unconventional theories but finds it far from easy. Having a daughter stirs up unexpected emotions in him as he confronts the feminist ideas inheritedfrom her mother, problems she is having at school and her worries whether a boy likes her. Complicating the plot are conflicting reactions and advice from his parents, an important woman client, a social worker, his men friends and Katie’s women friends.
Manny starts to realise there is more to the incident in the men's club than he has been told. He also starts to question his own beliefs and to realise that it is one thing to theorise about relationships but quite another to put the theories into practice.
A triangle of conflict emerges between Manny, Jenny and Katie which is only resolved when Jenny confronts her parents with some home truths and they are forced to re-examine their beliefs and their relationship.
Murder for a Grandmother
I am now about 30,000 words into a revised draft, working mainly at this stage on getting the plot and the sequence of the scenes right.
Like so much of what I write, I have found it necessary to chop out more than half of the original material I wrote. Whole sub-plots and more than a dozen characters have disappeared and I have honed the story down more and more to keep the pace up and the action moving.
This will be the first of the Grey Nomad Detectives series I am planning. I have drafted outlines for half a dozen more and have more than half written what will eventually be the third in the series.
I found this was necessary to get it clear in my mind what the series would eventually look like, as this made it easier to come back and write the first book.